It’s been nearly six years since Hunter Hayes released his multiplatinum self-titled debut album. Since then, the 25-year-old says he’s been through a personal evolution that’s shining through in his music.
Hayes gave fans a prelude of these changes when he released three songs he co-wrote via social media in September. The upbeat “Yesterday’s Song” celebrates moving on from an unfulfilling relationship, “Amen” is a spiritual one about finding the perfect match after much struggle, while “Young Blood” discusses the thrill of falling for someone new.
The new music, much of which was recorded in a backyard studio in Nashville, will set the stage for his forthcoming tour.
“Being on the road is where everything kind of comes to life for me so anytime we get a schedule like we’ve got this year, my heart is overwhelmed with joy,” the five-time Grammy nominee said.
Prior to his Long Island stop at The Paramount on June 23, Hayes spoke with Pulse about his new music, tour and what he’s describing as a new chapter.
You’re gearing up to a release a new album. What can fans expect from it?
More than an album. I love, love, love talking about an album because it’s the big picture of what an artist is working on. It’s a deeper dive into the work that somebody created. But at the same time, I feel like nowadays with all the options that I have at my disposal, all the different ways that I can release music, an album is almost limiting in a lot of ways. The idea of 12 songs that come out on one specific day sounds a bit boxed in. We’ve kind of restructured our whole team in the way that we think about releasing music so that it’s not just an album. I want the fans to get music from me more often, more consistent and kind of more accurate. I want them to hear what we’re working on right now soon and not two years from now. I’m really excited about this new way of thinking…there’s a lot of new music that’s been created for this record and we are still creating and it’s going to continue. It never stops for me.
You released three new songs through social media. Is that something you’re going to be doing more of?
We are going to be trying everything. I don’t think we really even have a definitive like we are always going to do it this way. I think there’s going to be a lot of experimentation. Two and a half years ago we put out one song at a time during the release of The 21 Project and that was a combination of things. That was something we really wanted to do just for fun and it was also a way for us to study how that works…I want my music to find its way out whenever we can put it out and however we feel like serves best each song…This feels like a much better way to communicate with [fans].
One of the new songs you released, “Young Blood,” you said there was no way you could’ve written about that a year ago. Why is that?
I just think that’s a sign of change, of evolution, of bravery. It’s just totally a different song for me. It was the first time I’ve put out a song in which in the writing process I was living vicariously through it…I just wrote a song a couple of weeks ago that I’m sure I would have never written a year ago as well. I feel like this project has led me to grow…There’s been a lot of discovery. There’s been a lot of studying…That song is just a sign of musically one of the things that I’ve been wanting to try and lyrically some stuff that I’ve just never tried before.
You mentioned discovery. What kind of discovery?
Oh, all of it [Laughs]. I don’t necessarily point to one kind—musically, lyrically, as an artist, as a human. More as a human than any other, honestly…I put out The 21 Project when I was 22 and even from 22 there’s been a lot of change in my life and it’s been everything. It’s been great, some not so great, but it’s all been stuff that helps me grow and it helped me kind of truly dig deeper into the heart of what makes me a creator.
And you’re putting all that into the music.
Absolutely, it always goes back to the music, for sure.
There’s also the tour. What can your fans expect from this one?
A lot of new music because of the way we are putting out new stuff. We’re going to be throwing new stuff into the set as often as we can…and just a new general spirit to the show. The show has a lot of energy because of a lot of the new music and a lot of the new spirit of things. It’s a new chapter for me and you can feel it from the start of the show.